One dead, several injured in two explosions in Jerusalem
The separate explosions came after a 16-year-old Palestinian was killed in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces, according to Palestinian officials.
At least one person was killed and 12 others injured in two separate explosions that rocked Jerusalem city, according to Israeli officials.
Israeli police said that the incidents on Wednesday morning are suspected of being a Palestinian attack.
The explosions came hours after a Palestinian 16-year-old boy was killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, according to Palestinian officials.
The first explosion took place at around 7am (4:00am GMT) near an Israeli bus station along a highway on the western entrance into Jerusalem that is usually packed with commuters.
Seven people were injured in the first explosion, according to medics, with at least two in serious condition.
The second explosion, which officials described as “controlled,” took place less than a half an hour later at the Ramot junction, in northern Jerusalem. Officials said five people were lightly injured from shrapnel.
Reporting from Ramot, Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher said police believe the first incident was caused by “explosives packed inside a bicycle left at a bus stop”.
Both explosions are believed to have been activated from afar.
Israeli authorities have shut down major roads and set up checkpoints in both the eastern and western parts of Jerusalem as they conduct an investigation into the two explosions and search for the suspect, or multiple.
Based on a decision by the defence minister, the Israeli army also announced the closure of two key checkpoints in the Jenin area – the Jalameh and Salem checkpoints.
The Israeli police commissioner said the kind of attack that took place in Jerusalem “has not been seen for years,” and that authorities are searching for the assailants. He added that police are searching for more possible explosives in the city.
Surveillance camera footage from the first explosion was shared on social media.
[Translation: The moment of the first explosion on the way out of the city of Jerusalem]
Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was at the scene when the blast occurred, told Army Radio that there was “damage everywhere here” and that some of the wounded were bleeding heavily.
While the cause was still being determined, the incident came as tensions on the ground continue to rise since last year. Israeli army raids and killings of Palestinians in towns and villages in the occupied West Bank have increased over the last period in parallel with a rise in Palestinian armed attacks, as well as an increase in settler attacks against Palestinians.
At least 200 Palestinians, including over 50 children, have been killed by Israel in the occupied territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip – the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.
At least 25 people have also been killed on the Israeli side.
Just after midnight on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials confirmed the killing of 16-year-old boy in Nablus, Ahmad Amjad Shehadeh, with a bullet in the heart.
Israeli forces had raided Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank to secure the entry of Israeli settlers to the sensitive site of Joseph’s Shrine, which lies about a kilometre away from Nablus’ city center.
At least five other Palestinians were injured after being shot with live ammunition and stun grenades, the health ministry said, including one in serious condition with a bullet to the stomach.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said it dealt with 22 other injuries from rubber-coated bullets and dozens from tear-gas inhalation. It added that “the Red Crescent ambulance was targeted with live ammunition by the occupation forces.”
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinians who carry out attacks, and who is set to become the internal security minister in charge of police in the country’s new government, said the Jerusalem explosions mean he will enforce stronger measures.
“We have to renew targeted assassinations and make them pay,” said Ben-Gvir, in reference to an increase in targeted Israeli army assassinations of Palestinian fighters in the occupied West Bank.
Hamas, the Palestinian group which governs the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip, praised the attack, calling it a heroic operation, but stopped short of claiming responsibility.
“The occupation is reaping the price of its crimes and aggression against our people.”